Oil Sands Pipeline Sparks Grass-Roots Activism, High-Stakes Lobbying

"A massive feat of engineering by any measure, the Keystone pipeline expansion project would transport crude oil close to 1,700 miles from "oil sands" in the icy reaches of Hardisty, Alberta, down through the Great Plains to the refineries of Port Arthur, Tex. In doing so, the giant pipe also promises to allay some fears about U.S. energy security: The oil will come from a trusted ally, and its cross-continental path avoids visions of another deep-sea drilling disaster.

But the decision on whether to issue a permit to the project, opposed by environmental groups, rests with the State Department, which has little expertise in engineering or environmental matters. And reflecting the chaos of U.S. energy and environmental policy, the proposed pipeline is pitting Montana landowners against pipe fitters in Nebraska and creating unlikely allies of Nebraska ranchers and chieftains from Alberta's indigenous communities."

Juliet Eilperin reports for the Washington Post January 23, 2011.

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Source: Wash Post, 01/24/2011